News today that payments worth £19.1 million have been made to farmers and crofters in remote and rural areas from the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) has been welcomed by isles representatives Alistair Carmichael MP, Beatrice Wishart MSP and Liam McArthur MSP.
Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart said:
“Crofters and farmers will be pleased that this financial support is being paid out. It is all the more important at this unprecedented time where we need to make sure that crofting and farming businesses in Shetland remain viable.
“The Coronavirus crisis has brought into sharp focus how valuable our crofting and farming community is in providing high quality produce. Indeed the benefits of buying local to support our community and reduce food miles are clear to see.”
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael said:
“The current crisis has been a reminder to us all of the importance of supporting local farmers and crofters. They are the backbone of our supply chains, keeping supermarkets stocked while normal business is under pressure. It is good news that this support is getting out.
“There remain ongoing concerns amongst farmers and crofters. If we are learning lessons about the importance of supporting local, small-scale farming and crofting, that must include a recognition of the need for more consistent support.”
Orkney MSP Liam McArthur added:
“Cash flow can be a real issue for farm businesses even in normal times. We are obviously far removed from anything that could be described as normal, so the release of this funding is more welcome than ever.
“The current pandemic has forced most people to make dramatic changes in their lives. Some of those changes may even last beyond the current crisis. What is certainly true, however, is that Covid-19 has provided a timely reminder to all of us about how reliant we are on our farmers and crofters producing good quality, local food. That is certainly a lesson that should not be forgotten in the months and years ahead”.